The Campi Flegrei volcanic field (Italy) poses very high risk to the highly urbanized Neapolitan area. Eruptive history was dominated by explosive activity producing pyroclastic currents (hereon PCs; acronym for Pyroclastic Currents) ranging in scale from localized base surges to regional flows. Here we apply probabilistic numerical simulation approaches to produce PC hazard maps, based on a comprehensive spectrum of flow properties and vent locations. These maps are incorporated in a Geographic Information System (GIS) and provide all probable Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) scenarios from different source vents in the caldera, relevant for risk management planning. For each VEI scenario, we report the conditional probability for PCs (i.e., the probability for a given area to be affected by the passage of PCs in case of a PC-forming explosive event) and related dynamic pressure. Model results indicate that PCs from VEI<4 events would be confined within the Campi Flegrei caldera, PC propagation being impeded by the northern and eastern caldera walls. Conversely, PCs from VEI 4–5 events could invade a wide area beyond the northern caldera rim, as well as part of the Naples metropolitan area to the east. A major controlling factor of PC dispersal is represented by the location of the vent area. PCs from the potentially largest eruption scenarios (analogous to the ~15 ka, VEI 6 Neapolitan Yellow Tuff or even the ~39 ka, VEI 7 Campanian Ignimbrite extreme event) would affect a large part of the Campanian Plain to the north and the city of Naples to the east. Thus, in case of renewal of eruptive activity at Campi Flegrei, up to 3 million people will be potentially exposed to volcanic hazard, pointing out the urgency of an emergency plan. Considering the present level of uncertainty in forecasting the future eruption type, size and location (essentially based on statistical analysis of previous activity), we suggest that appropriate planning measures should face at least the VEI 5 reference scenario (at least 2 occurrences documented in the last 10 ka).
Mastrolorenzo, G., Palladino, D. M., Pappalardo, L., & Rossano, S. (2017). Probabilistic-numerical assessment of pyroclastic current hazard at Campi Flegrei and Naples city: Multi-VEI scenarios as a tool for “full-scale” risk management. PLoS ONE, 12(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185756